Violins may often look the same. But like a human voice, each sounds different. And some sound better than others. Your choice of which violin to rent, even in the small sizes, can greatly impact both a student’s progress and his or her enjoyment of the instrument. A good instrument has a clear sound, easy response, and minimal squeaking. A poor violin can sound scratchy, feel unresponsive, and be so difficult to play, it is virtually impossible to produce a tolerable sound, let alone a good one, on an instrument of poor quality. Certainly, the larger the instrument the better then tone. But even the smallest sizes can sound pretty good, but may be hard to find.
Although general music stores sometimes carry excellent rent violin, the best place to rent a violin is from a dedicated violin shop. These shops have expertise in choosing fine student violins that sound excellent and are kept in good condition and repair, with high quality fittings and strings. Twenty years ago, student violins were made in factories, and rarely sounded anywhere near as good as hand-carved instruments that cost thousands of dollars more. Since the hand-carved Chinese sub-sized instruments have become widely available, a decent if not beautiful little instrument awaits each student provided he or she looks in the right place.
If you are in the market for renting a sub-sized violin, perhaps your best bet is to ask your teacher which local shop specializes in small, hand-carved instruments. In the Twin Cities, where I live, a shoip called “House of Note,” located in St. Louis Park, has perhaps the most high-quality sub-sized instruments, and it is there that I recommend my students start when looking for a violin to rent.
Given what might sound like bias, I think it is important for me to note that I do not receive any teacher kickbacks or compensation for recommending any particular shop. They are not paying me for any kind of advertising. They have earned their reputation through a history of high quality service. What I do gain are relationships with honest and knowledgeable shops that treat their customers well and are able to provide both me and my students the best equipment and service that our area has to offer.